Hey guys, Gay Beer Club (GBC) founder, Andy, here with another update on the local happenings around our town. I hope you all are enjoying the change of season. It’s fall and most of New England beer enthusiasts are excited about warming up to cozier brews. Recently, when the weather took an unexpected dip, great beer and a crowd were the best comfort.
For those of you who’ve forgotten October 29th, perhaps some climatory context will refresh your memory…it was F’N SNOWING OUT! Could you believe it? What better place to find shelter than a nice warm brewery with tons of great beers on?
Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC), home to Gay Beer Club’s weekly GBC @ the CBC event, had their 4th annual Great Pumpkin Festival and the place was a sight. This hybrid Halloween/Pumpkin party is part costume ball, part beerfest and all exclusive as the place was at capacity 45 minutes after they opened at 1pm.
CBC boasted 9 pumpkin beers of their own, 6 sensational non-pumpkin offerings and topped it off with 32 guest pumpkin beers from some of the best breweries around the globe. No wonder, even with my connections, the line at 9pm was almost to the street.
Determined to get in, and not getting return texts from my inside guy, I stood there in line with my Burberry cane umbrella hooked over my forearm in the freezing rain. Luckily, CBC erected some rectangular umbrellas to cover me and my fellow anxious party-goers. I heard that the line extended well past these shelters and around the corner for most of the day even with the inclement weather.
Finally inside, I felt something I rarely ever feel…underdressed. I went conservative in fear I would get sick from exposure but many other patrons didn’t feel that same way, they weren’t gonna let a little thing like Diptheria damper their time. I saw some short shorts from Reno 911, Buzz Light-year and Safari tour guides, I think? The Girls all brought it home with Sexy versions of (Fill in the Blank) come rain or shine. And the Ferverts were even representing.
Here is a great picture of the Plushy Team that was keeping warm outside during the event.
By the time I got in, there were plenty of pumpkin pints to be had. Of course, my desire to show up fashionably late did cost me a chance to taste a few brews. But I did make it in time for the tapping of the GREAT PUMPKIN, CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale tapped from the belly of monsterous pumpkin escorted to its final serving place by pumpkin masked monks. A truly unique beer drinking experience, I recommend it highly.
Now to the Beer…. like I said, CBC rolls out 9 of their best pumpkin inspired beers and imports 32 additional Pumpkin beers from all over the US and Europe. Here are some highlights:
1.Wilson, CBC, Cambridge, MA: 6.5% ABV
Wilson is a whiskey-barrel aged spiced pumpkin porter…you get all that? It’s one of my favorites because of it distinct robust nose and flavor. Anybody who knows me knows I’m “a Porter” so Wilson goes right to the top of my list. While I’m not a pumpkin beer freak, the malt and whiskey carried this beer in a way that made a pumpkin beer-liever outta me!
2. IMPERIAL Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Eaton, PA: 8.0% ABV
The IMPERIAL Pumpkin Ale was just what I needed when I arrived in the icy Beer Garden. The mass of humanity inside encouraged me to check out what the back beer tent had to offer…I was glad I did. “Give me something Great!” was my command to Derek, the Plushy Pink Bunny, I recognized from my regular CBC visits. His response, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin. Its malty pumpkin/caramel/alcohol warmth was the right cure for my frost bitten fingers, which in turn kept my beer cold. It boasted an 8.0% ABV that kept my warm on the inside.
3.FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, CBC, Cambridge, MA: 8.0% ABV
Finally, a Friend With Benefits with none of the headache, unless you drink too many of them. Murky blonde, fruity, yet not overly sweet, chardonnay barrel-aged, vibrated to the frequency of OM and blended with CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale, this amazing beer made the lines well worth while! It’s this kind of creativity that makes CBC the innovator it is known to be in the brewing world. It’s also the kind of beer that makes you forget exactly where you put your Burberry cane umbrella because you became very zen with the idea of letting go of possessions that are not this beer.
4.THE GREAT PUMPKIN ALE, CBC, Cambridge, MA: 4.4% ABV
To me, the perfect session pumpkin pint. Its bright pumpkin hue precedes a delicious autumn-spiced Pumpkin Ale. Made with all organic Massachusetts sugar pumpkins, it is the first pumpkin beer since the Pilgrims and it is the standard by which all other Pumpkin Ales should be judged. Best enjoyed on Sunday nights at the GBC @ the CBC!
5. EL MARIACHI, CBC, Cambridge, MA: 4.0% ABV
DIOS MIO! This cask-conditioned Irish stout with peppers and pumpkin was amazing. On cask it is hand-pumped, naturally carbonated and served at a cellar temperature of mid-50s rather than mid-30s so all you get is the flavor of the actual beer. Spicy beer served warm on a freezing cold night? The beer Gods must’ve willed it so!
All in all, a great night of beer drinking that can only be had on once a year. There is no place else in the world one can sample as many Pumpkin Beers as you can at CBC’s Great Pumpkin Festival. And if you’re lucky, when you call back the next day you’ll find out your Burberry cane umbrella was found exactly where you left it, by the commemorative glass you also left completely empty.
Thanks again and I hope to see you all on Sunday nights at the GBC @ the CBC!
-Andy “Beer Proud”